The New Taipei City Police Department has seized 446.8kg of heroin and arrested 13 people in the country’s biggest-ever bust involving the substance, law enforcement officials said yesterday.
Police on Oct. 20 raided a warehouse in the city’s Taishan District (泰山) after receiving a tip that the facility was being used to stockpile drugs, New Taipei City Prosecutors’ Office Lead Prosecutor Chen Hsu-hua (陳旭華) told a news conference at police headquarters in Banciao District (板橋).
Logs in the warehouse were found to have compartments that contained 1,172 bricks of heroin that could sell for NT$5 billion (US$179.9 million), Chen said.
After questioning suspects from the facility, investigators identified and detained others, including seven against whom the office has started trial proceedings on narcotics and organized crime charges, seeking mandatory labor for no less than three years in addition to prison sentences, he said.
An arrest warrant has been issued for a man surnamed Lin (林), a main suspect who is thought to have fled to China, Chen said.
Lin is likely to be the link between Taiwanese drug dealers and a man known as Long Ge (龍哥), who heads a drug cartel that traffics heroin out of the Golden Triangle region of Thailand, Laos and Myanmar, he said.
Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌), who presided over the news conference, said that the heroin confiscated was notable because of its quantity and purity.
The alleged narcotics ring has the hallmarks of a sophisticated organization, Su said.
“Fortunately, good has prevailed over evil,” he said, adding that the National Police Agency would present awards to the officers who took part in the operation.
New Taipei City Mayor Hou You-yi (侯友宜), a former Criminal Investigation Bureau commissioner, said that the haul was unprecedented.
“I busted a lot of drug operations when I worked in the police force, but I have never seen anything like this,” Hou said. “Never in this quantity.”
Double-lion and globe marks on the bricks suggest that the heroin is of high purity and would have caused a significant rise in crime if the shipment had not been intercepted, he said.
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